Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Make your own sausage

I told a friend that I made my own sausage this morning and she asked if I had started butchering my own meat now!  Is it that obvious I'm a little off the beaten path?  The answer is no, not yet, but I still have 46 weeks left of this year.  Who knows what might transpire? :)

I did however find a seasoning recipe for turkey sausage that I wanted to try.  Breakfast meat/deli meat is full of ingredients that can mean different things, I decided that if I could make my own, that would take the guesswork out of it.  I found a recipe from Laura at Heavenly Homemakers.  It received great reviews, so I thought I would give it a try. 

It was my plan to mix the sausage up yesterday afternoon and then fry it up before bed.  That way I could just reheat it for the girls before school and not have to worry about an extra thing to do in the morning rush.  Of course, life happened.  Plan B was to mix it up last night before going to bed and then cook it fresh for the girls.  Then, the three year old had different plans for me and I went to lay down with him at 9:30 pm.  At 2:47 am this morning, I woke up and realized that my kitchen was in a shambles (dinner dishes that wouldn't fit in the dishwasher, plus I made granola and granola bars last night too), and the sausage hadn't been made.  So, like any hard working mom, who has people in her house at 7 am, I got up, emptied and reloaded the dishwasher and put together some sausage. 

In my half-rested stupor, I mixed the sausage and immediately threw it in to cook.  Well it was supposed to sit for an hour.  There was that, and my ground pork expired yesterday.  I usually don't have any kind of problems with meat being bad.  I buy it on the "sell by" date and use it all the time.  This smelled fine, looked fine, but felt a little slimey.  I went ahead and finished cooking it, but now I think it tastes funny.  My problem is that I can't tell if the seasonings are off, or the meat is questionable.  Like any good wife, I'll let my husband taste it and give his opinion.  If I have time tonight, I might run out and get another pound of pork, and see what happens.  Granted, this is a costly experiment, but if I can find a good recipe that I can control the quality of, then it is money well spent.

Here's the recipe
Homemade Turkey Sausage
1 lb ground turkey
3 Tablespoon minced onion 2 Tablespoons onion powder
¼ teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon marjoram
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
¼ teaspoon oregano
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper  1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon thyme
½ teaspoon sage 3/4 teaspoon sage
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Mix all ingredients.  Chill for about an hour.  (If you forget to chill this ahead of time…it cooks up okay anyway!)  Form into patties.  Saute in butter.

I didn't add the egg because I wasn't making patties, I was crumbling it up to use as a pizza topping or in scrambled eggs, so I didn't think I needed the binder.  Second, I guessed pork to be a little fattier than the ground turkey from the recipe, so I thought that would hold everything together well enough.

One thing I know that I'll change is the minced onion.  I will switch it to onion powder as I personally don't care for the small onion chunks that I can taste and feel in my mouth.

I'll update with hubby's take on the sausage and what happened with the redo.  Maybe I'll take pictures this time.  I wasn't dragging the camera out at 3 am to get a shot of the first batch.

UPDATE: 2/16/11
I made the sausage for the second time last night.  I made the following changes:  switched the minced onion to onion powder, upped the cayenne to 1/4 teaspoon and used the sage, which I realized that I had left out in my "middle of the night" stupor.  It's considerably better.  I mixed it in the food processor instead of by hand and I think that helped incorporate everything better.  My husband and oldest daughter like it.  The rest of us aren't too sure.  I bought 3 pounds of ground pork last night, so I still have 2 more chances to get it right.  Next time I will decrease the amount of onion to 2 tablespoons, increase the sage to 3/4 teaspoon and add more heat.  I can't decide if I want more cayenne or maybe 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes. 

Oh, and I made patties this time and I definitely didn't need the egg even though the sausages weren't too greasy.  That's another thing I didn't even think of when trying to make my own.  I can really control the quality of the meat.

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